Trademarks and Trade Dress

In BBK Tobacco & Foods LLP v. Cent. Coast Agric., Inc., 97 F.4th 668 (9th Cir. 2024), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that federal district courts have power to adjudicate trademark applications pursuant to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1119, provided that the litigation involves infringement of a registered trademark.Continue Reading Divided 9th Circuit Says District Court Has Power to Adjudicate TM Applications

On June 8, 2023, the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision held that a trademark claim concerning “a squeaky, chewable dog toy designed to look like a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey” which, as a play on words, turns the words “Jack Daniels” into “Bad Spaniels” and the descriptive phrase “Old No. 7 Brand Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey” into “The Old No. 2 On Your Tennessee Carpet” does not receive special First Amendment treatment where the accused infringer used the trademarks at issue to designate the source of its own goods and that, with respect to a Lanham Act dilution by tarnishment claim, “[t]he use of a mark does not count as noncommercial just because it parodies, or otherwise comments on, another’s products.”[1]Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules “That Dog Don’t Hunt”: Bad Spaniels Toy’s Use of JACK DANIELS Marks is a Poor Parody and Dilution Act Applies

Note: First published in The Intellectual Property Strategist and Law.com.

This article is Part Three of a Three-Part Article Series

Artificial intelligence is changing industry and society, and metrics at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reflect its impact. In a recent publication, the USPTO indicated that from 2002 to 2018 the share of all patent applications relating to artificial intelligence grew from 9% to approximately 16%. See “Inventing AI, Tracing the diffusion of artificial intelligence with U.S. patents,” Office of the Chief Economist, IP Data Highlights (October 2020). For the foreseeable future, patent applications involving artificial intelligence technologies, including machine learning, will increase with the continued proliferation of such technologies. However, subject matter eligibility can be a significant challenge in securing patents on artificial intelligence and machine learning.Continue Reading Artificial Intelligence And Subject Matter Eligibility In U.S. Patent Office Appeals – Part Three Of Three

Note: First published in The Intellectual Property Strategist and Law.com.

This article is Part Two of a Three-Part Article Series

Artificial intelligence is changing industry and society, and metrics at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reflect its impact. In a recent publication, the USPTO indicated that from 2002 to 2018 the share of all patent applications relating to artificial intelligence grew from 9% to approximately 16%. See “Inventing AI, Tracing the diffusion of artificial intelligence with U.S. patents,” Office of the Chief Economist, IP Data Highlights (October 2020). For the foreseeable future, patent applications involving artificial intelligence technologies, including machine learning, will increase with the continued proliferation of such technologies. However, subject matter eligibility can be a significant challenge in securing patents on artificial intelligence and machine learning.Continue Reading Artificial Intelligence And Subject Matter Eligibility In U.S. Patent Office Appeals – Part Two Of Three

Note: First published in The Intellectual Property Strategist and Law.com.

This article is Part One of a Three-Part Article Series

Artificial intelligence is changing industry and society, and metrics at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reflect its impact. In a recent publication, the USPTO indicated that from 2002 to 2018 the share of all patent applications relating to artificial intelligence grew from 9% to approximately 16%. See “Inventing AI, Tracing the diffusion of artificial intelligence with U.S. patents,” Office of the Chief Economist, IP Data Highlights (October 2020). For the foreseeable future, patent applications involving artificial intelligence technologies, including machine learning, will increase with the continued proliferation of such technologies. However, subject matter eligibility can be a significant challenge in securing patents on artificial intelligence and machine learning.Continue Reading Artificial Intelligence And Subject Matter Eligibility In U.S. Patent Office Appeals – Part One Of Three

The harm caused to brands by counterfeiting goes far beyond loss of sales or profits.  Fake goods jeopardize public health and safety when a brand’s trademark is applied to a sub-standard and potentially harmful product.  This is especially hazardous for counterfeit medical items, mechanical parts, and food products, to name a few.  What is more, the reputational damage inflicted by low-quality products can be devastating.
Continue Reading Practice Tips for Combating Counterfeiters: An Action Plan for Brands, Manufacturers and Retailers

The Trademark Modernization Act (TMA) was signed into law on December 27, 2020.  The Act introduces significant amendments to the Lanham Act designed to strengthen the rights of legitimate trademark owners.  The Act makes it easier for trademark owners to obtain injunctive relief in litigation, provides new mechanisms for challenging trademark applications and registrations on the basis of non-use, codifies the letter of protest procedure, and affords the USPTO greater discretion and flexibility in setting deadlines to respond to office actions.
Continue Reading Trademark Modernization Act Strengthens Rights of Trademark Owners

In June of this year, the US Supreme Court ruled that a proposed mark consisting of the combination of a generic term and a generic top-level domain, like “.com,” is not per se generic. (USPTO v. Booking.com). In response, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently issued Examination Guidelines for examining such “generic.com” terms.
Continue Reading USPTO Issues Guidance on Examination of Generic.com Terms

On June 30, the Supreme Court issued an 8-1 holding in U.S. Patent & Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V., finding that whether a “GENERIC.COM” mark qualifies for trademark protection depends on its ability to act as a source identifier to consumers. In other words, a “GENERIC.COM” mark may or may not actually be generic. Adding “.COM” to an otherwise generic, and unregistrable, mark does not automatically affect whether the mark qualifies for trademark protection.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Sides with Booking.com – Generic.com Trademarks Not Necessarily Generic

At the beginning of April, 3M, the nation’s largest producer of the now infamous N95 mask, filed two lawsuits against companies it claimed were confusing and deceiving buyers by falsely associating 3M with the defendants and re-selling its N95 masks at “grossly inflated”[1] prices. Such behavior, according to 3M, violates federal trademark law. The lawsuits, which were filed in the Southern District of New York[2] and the Eastern District of California[3], were some of the first major trademark lawsuits to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the same day, 3M also filed suit against a John Doe in Texas state court. 3M did not stop there. Most recently, on April 30, 2020, 3M filed four additional lawsuits: two in the Middle District of Florida,[4] one in the Northern District of Florida[5], and one in the Southern District of Indiana.[6]  Overall, the complaints in these suits contain claims of federal trademark infringement, unfair competition, false association, false endorsement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, false advertising, deceptive acts and business practices and other state law claims.
Continue Reading 3M Takes Action to Protect Its Brand from Price Gouging And Trademark Infringement

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held today (April 23, 2020) that a brand owner is not required to prove a defendant’s trademark infringement was willful as a precondition to an award of the defendant’s profits. The Court’s decision – Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc.[1] – vacated the decision of the Federal Circuit, which held that, under Second Circuit law, an award of profits could not be sustained for Romag’s failure to establish Fossil’s infringement was willful.[2]  The Court’s decision resolves a Circuit split regarding the interpretation of Section 1117(a) of the Lanham Act, which states in pertinent part:
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Profits Available Even from Non-Willful Trademark Infringers